Saturday, April 23, 2011

Three Months and Counting

It's been three months since my dad passed away. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago, in others just yesterday. A couple of nights ago I sat upright in bed when I heard him call me. No matter that everything has changed since then, I heard his voice and my body reacted.

I've begun to feel alive again. Like the budding trees turning green. But it doesn't take much more than a thought or a word to make my tears start flowing again. I no longer climb into bed and curl into a ball. Instead I just let the tears fall, feel the sadness and keep on going. That sounds like a lot of improvement until I admit I don't have much ambition so the "keep on going" part isn't like moving up the final slope of Mt. Everest. There is still much to be done to get our house back in order. It's livable to the half of Ellington-Cook family who is not hard wired to hanging pictures and emptying the endless parade of boxes that make their way into the house from the garage. In each box I find some reminder of Dad that makes me stop, hold it close to my heart and go back 3 months to a different time. It's weird how I can be going along perfectly fine and then have to stop to pay homage to the man and the journey all over again.

It happens (ed) when:
  • I see the silver brushes mom gave dad as a wedding present. What, pray tell, does one do with someone else's brushes?
  • I was washing my sister's feet at church on Maundy Thursday and they morphed into my father's feet and I remembered all the times I'd been down on my knees to trim his nails and rub lotion into his dried heels.
  • I was looking for a new dress for Easter so I could match the flowering bushes with Springtime color. I stood in front of dressing room mirrors and remembered how Dad offered to buy me a "shirtwaist" dress for my birthday last year. I have his checkbook so I can buy me a dress from "him" but my heart misses the offer.
  • I lool into the soulful brown eyes of a ditzy dog
  • I see the lilies Dad planted in the front yard coming back from the winter's freeze and realize I still haven't transplanted them.
  • I try to balance Dad's checkbook that, in the 3 months since it's been in my possession, has become irreconciable with the bank's statement.
  • I see the crap strewn around and realize the difference between his messes and mine is that his were confined to one room.
  • I see a picture of him and realize I'm slowly beginning to forget what his face looked like in life, but I cannot forget the way he looked on his deathbed. I wonder who's in the room where he died. I think about going and sitting in the comfortable chair just outside the nurse's station. Then I realize none of that is going to turn back the clock. Did I do everything right? Did I pay enough attention?
  • I think of his last day and forget to be grateful that his final wish was granted. Instead I long for more time.

I've signed up for am 8-week course on managing grief. I think if someone can come up with a plan for that then they should be able to manage a simple tsunami. I know it will be good for me. However, walking cold into a group of people, who like me may be more dead inside than the one's we mourn, to share these feelings is pretty darn scary. But it's been three months, the same amount of time for winter to turn to spring. I anticipate a re-awakening of my joy, a re-birth of my song. But sometimes I still cry.

Wishing for you a happy heart,
Merry ME


Laura Paine Carr said...

I just caught up on several posts. I am deeply moved by these last posts.

I am sure that this "season" of grieving will release you into a bigger life, into joy, into all that you desire and more. On your sidebar, your Love says that the river of tears is a blessing (he said it eloquently, and I am not able to remember his words exactly), as it washes away the wrinkles of time. Your posts are so rich with feeling and love.

And I, for one, am very grateful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your beautiful sweet lady..
and I am thinking about you every day...